What I Learned In 2015: Richard Wolpert, HelloTech

Story by Richard Wolpert


As is the tradition at socaltech, over the holidays we publish contributions from some of the movers and shakers in the community, with their reflections on the past year and their thoughts on the upcoming year. We'll be publishing these between now and the new year. Our first for this year is from Richard Wolpert, founder of HelloTech (, an in-home, technology and IT support service. Wolpert is also a longtime angel investor in Southern California's technology industry, helping to run technology accelerator Amplify, investing in countless startups, working with Accel Partners, and having been Chief Strategy Officer of RealNetworks, President of Disney Online, among other positions.

What was the biggest news for you or your firm this year?

Richard Wolpert: For HelloTech, we built our platform, launched a free friends and family trial in May, went live to the public in June, raised a $12.5M Series A round in September and are preparing for big expansion next year. Certainly was enough to keep us busy.

What was the biggest lesson you learned over the last year?

Richard Wolpert: You canít spend too much time worrying about the broader markets. Put your head down and do a great job and the rest should work itself out. There has been talk for almost two years of a ďSeries A crunchĒ yet company after company continues to raise money and in many cases larger and larger Series A rounds.

Who or what do you think had the biggest impact on the technology industry in 2015?

Richard Wolpert: Late stage private company funding events. They have replaced the IPO which is not great for early stage investors as these late stage financings, creating over 100 unicorns, donít create liquidity events for early investors. 2015 marks the worst year for tech IPO's since '09 with only 28 vs 62 in '14 and half the companies that did go public are trading beneath their IPO price; wait didnít I say donít worry too much about broader markets ;-)

What are the technologies or things you think people ought to watch in 2016?

Richard Wolpert: While every new technology trend takes much longer to adopt than we as technologists would like to admit I do think we are now seeing enough smart home technology products (thermostats, door locks, cameras, music systems, lighting, etc) that consumers will begin adopting them in much larger quantities in 2016.